It was the best of times. It was the worst of times…It was a field trip day for my homeschooled teens.
“Aww, Mom, do we HAVE to go on this field trip?” my daughter whined.
“I don’t want to go, either. You only pick things YOU like to do,” her older sister chimed in.
With this cheerful beginning to my day, I was starting to dread it as well.
So we all got dressed and ate a quick and silent breakfast, locked up the house, and piled into the van for the 40-minute commute to Tacoma. On the drive I wondered if there was any truth to my girls’ statements. Did I schedule too many field trips? Let’s see….There was Homeschool Day at the zoo. My daughter requested that one and the other one didn’t go. Nutcracker? The whole family dressed up and went to that. Hmmm….
We parked the van and walked to the beautiful venue, Pantages Theatre, met our group in the lobby and found our upper-level seats. The lights flickered, indicating that the show was about to start. I asked my kids to turn off their phones and put them away. They rolled their eyes and yet complied. School groups filed in and filled most of the 1,100 seats. And then the show started. The announcer said, “Welcome to Black Violin! …Unlike most shows at Pantages where we ask you to please silence your phones and put them away… this group has asked that you keep those phones out. Take lots of pictures, and tag them on Facebook and Snapchat.” The young crowd went wild. Suddenly my kids sat up and paid attention.
Then the music started and out came a three-man musical group like we’d never seen before. They were…COOL! Band members Wil-B and Kev Marcus both grew up playing stringed instruments in orchestras. They learned and performed classical music but were heavily influenced by contemporary musicians such as Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Dr. Dre, and Jay-Z. The third member of Black Violin is DJ TK, who helps the band fuse the classical music with Hip-Hop, and the result makes listeners want to get up and DANCE…which we did!
Black Violin performed for a full hour, and most of the time students, teachers, parents, and even the ushers were on their feet, clapping, dancing, and singing along. By interspersing classical pieces with modern songs the audience knew from the radio, like “We Dem Boyz” by Wiz Khalifa and Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk,” the students paid rapt attention. They continued to pay attention to quieter pieces as well. The one I really enjoyed featured Wil-B holding his instrument like a guitar and exclusively playing pizzicato.
So, we came, we saw, we sang, we danced…and of course we posted on social media!
When the show came to an end, and my girls and I walked to our van, I had to ask, “So…did you guys have a good time?”
They both admitted that this was a fun way to start the day. They stopped to take a couple of selfies along the flower-lined sidewalks of downtown Tacoma. We hopped into the van and headed home, a little happier for our experience together. It was the best of times, indeed.
For more about Black Violin, check them out on Facebook at Black Violin Music. Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/BlackViolinMusic. Kelly Malleck is a homeschooling mom of teenage girls and Vice President of Homeschoolers’ Support Association.